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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 29, 2012 11:45am-12:45pm EDT

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listening to kennedy years about the moon shot, you wonder why politicians today don't get behind a war on cancer or don't talk up a going to mars or something. we seem to have lost that sense of bigness. hopefully it will come back. >> host: we've been talking for a short time with doug brink eley. his most recent book, cronkite,
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[cheers and applause]
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>> wow. oh. y'all need a minute; right? [laughter] [applause] well, ms. shirley, that's your new name. so this is a really special moment for all of us in this room. mrs. shirlly's only in new york for one night so she's here with us here at the shawmberg, and straight away, if you'd like to ask questions at the end, write ladies in white filter down, write them down, and they'll take the cards so we can put questions to ms. shirley from the audience at the very end. i want to start with -- we had a
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beautiful conversation on the phone. we this this i know you moment, and in chapter one, this was page six of the book, you talk about when you would, as a child, drive down the road, the back roads of georgia and how scary that was, but you write in the first chapter through this incident in july 2010, that there are more -- there's more than one way to terrorize somebody based on what happens. talk a bit about that. >> well, that's back in the years when it really was scary,i before we liberated, let's say, baker county, but to have this happen, to have a blogger -- i mean, you're only trying to do the best that you can for
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everyone, and to have someone take your words, to use the equipment that they have today to cut and splice to make your message appear to be the exact opposite of what it was and what it is is just an unbelievable situation, and it is a way to terrorize someone because you don't know that you'll ever really be able to get the truth out, but i was determined even if i had to tell one person at a time, you know so it makes me think there's this whole media keep of energy around this book, but the last time there was this media energy was then, july 2010 when it went down. >> yes. >> you were going back to the places who interviewed you who were making those accusations,
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calling you a reverse racist. the speed of which that happened, how does it feel now that you have the whole story? >> it feels good to know that first of all i was able to use that same media in the sense to be able to get the story, the right story out. i can't explain how great it feels to be able to sit here and to hear the actors really, oh, my goodness, i don't know whether you saw me, i was crying. it's really amazing. i didn't ever think -- i made the decision years ago that i didn't want people to forget my father and what he meant to us. i had no idea i would be able to tell the story in this way. it feels great. >> what's so beautifuls about
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this book is that it's a living history. it's like a love letter to choices reminding us that without the feelings, the facts don't convey enough of what a history has been. >> yes. >> and that is brutal as the history of african-american struggle for a humanitarian rights has been, there's been humanity and love and family and choice and possibility and sacrifice. i wondered if you could go back. you write in the jim crow south, a total daddy's girl, trying to get gangster driving the tractor at 4 years old in the streets in the neighborhood. tell me about that. [laughter] >> we were in baker county, and you hear about and read about the sheriffs of earlier years, but the gater, and the sheriff
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many that county wanted to be known as the gater. the gater ruled everything, everyone in the county, and you can't imagine looking at the westerns from earlier days, anyone like him, but he was worse than what you've seen in your worse westerns, but growing up in that, we -- my family lived -- my great great grandparents came to baker county. i don't know whether they came they ended up there as sharecroppers with the intent of buying land, and that, they did. they bought enough land that the area where i grew up is still, today, called hawkins town, and there's a lot of family, but it was that way, you know, hawkins in one area and williams in another, all one big family and felt we had to help each other.
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>> my father was a farmer, and he just kept having girls, and my nickname was bill. [laughter] >> your make name was bill? >> yes, but in the situation we were in, we felt safe and comfortable there, and my fathermented us to have an education, and he knew that education was the key to a better life, but i think he thought all of us would just come right back home and try to work from there, but i grew up with lots of family and community support. i grew up, went to a segregated school.
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when they -- when brown versus board of education passed, georgia's answer was to just throw up these schools to supposedly give us equal, separate, but equal facilities so i only -- i only attended segregated schools, but in those schools, we had people who cared. we had teachers who cared, but they all -- one thing they drilled into us in the church, in our homes, and in the schools was that they expected us to do good. they expected us to go and do good and reach back and help others. [applause] >> it's interesting you say that because in the country right now, day three of the huge teacher strike in chicago so there's a battle right now for the soul of education, public education. >> yes.
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>> your daddy was killed by a white fellow. >> yes. >> go back to that time and what happened, what you know about what happened and how your family got through that? >> that happenedded in a time when i look back at the days, my father seemed to be about as happy as any man could be. he had convinced my mother try just one more time for this son. [laughter] i was a senior in high school. my youngest sister was eight, but he wanted to try one more time, and he just knew this was a boy. in fact, she stayed sick so long, and we were concerned, and one day at school, my best friend asked me how is your mom? i said, she doesn't seem to be getting better. she said, girl, your daddy was at the store yesterday giving out cigars, your mama's going to have a baby. [laughter] he told everyone this was the son. he was still on top of the world.
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we were getting a new home built. he was able to get a loan, the first black person to get a loan through farmer's home administration, to build a home. he wanted a brick home, but the white county supervisor told him that a black person could not borrow the money to build a brick home so he and my mother picked smallest blocks they could. we were getting a new home. he was setting aside one room in the house just for that son. [laughter] you know, so he was, i mean, just really happy. the oldest was about to graduate from high school, and going off to college and then suddenly we went to church the day before, and we were always in church. we, and i was driving the family to church. we met this man on the road to church, dirt road, stopped, and he told my father he was coming to get the cow, and my father
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told him if you come bag tomorrow, i'll bring others tomorrow around to the pasture to help. they agreed to meet the next morning at nine o'clock. the next day, we all got up and went to school, and mid-morning, the principal called on the intercom for me to come to the office. i went to the office, and that's when they told me that my father had been shot. they sent for my other sisters, and they were afraid they didn't -- the teachers and principal didn't know what to do, but finally one of the teachers said she would take us to the hospital where they had taken my father. she was so afraid. i can remember the way this little town is, there was a small bridge that crossed the river into the next county, and you could barely get two cars to pass each other on this bridge, but it was the only way to get to the next county without going
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maybe 30 miles out of the way, and so -- but you had to go through -- supposed to go through the little downtown area to get to the bridge, and she actually went way around to keep from being seen taken us to the hospital. when we arrived at the hospital, they had actually moved him to albany at that point so it was actually the next day when we got a chance to see him. he lingered for ten days before dying. i can remember on the night of his death that the house filled with people. my mother was seven months pregnant, and the baby really was a boy. he was born two months after my father's death. she was seven months preeing in a minute, and people were coming to show support for us, and i just didn't want to be around anyone. i went into one of the rooms, and as the oldest, i felt i needed to do something.
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i felt if i had been a boy, i probably would have gotten a gun to go and kill the man, and that thought came to my mind, but i couldn't do that. i was -- my father tried to teach us one day to fire a weapon, and all of my younger sisters were taking their turn with the gun, but when he put the gun in my hand, all i could do was cry. i knew i couldn't get a gun to go and try to kill the map, but i needed to do something, and i was praying, and i remember the thought just came into my mind -- see, my folks didn't know that i didn't intend to live in the south. i wanted to get away from baker county]iñ so i was applying to schools in the north and didn't let them know at the time, but i really did not want to live in the south because of the conditions we were living in and because i didn't want to have anything to do with the farm again in my life.
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[laughter] >> i hear that. >> i would talk to the son and say you just wait. [laughter] the thought came to my mind that the thing i could do would be to give up my dream of living in the north to stay in the south and to devote my life for working for change, and i remember i felt a calmness after that. i couldn't share even that with anyone, and i didn't know how i would do it. we were not involved in the civil rights movement. others had been working in the movement, and albany since 61. this was 65. nay had -- they had also stard the movement in several other coupes in the area, and i tease him now because the gater had the worst reputation, and he had not come to baker county to help get the movement started there, but once
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my father, who was a leader in the community, was murdered, that was the one thing that really brought everyone together, and they were ready for it when they came in to help us start the baker county movement. >> wow. what's interesting to me is you really -- in the book, you really write about the way the legacy of trauma impacts you as a family so that even though we all know the landmark case, brown versus board of education, but you talk about the fact that when that happened, the black children who went to the white school lost all their black friends, couldn't make white friends, and found themselves living in no man's land. i don't think we have the chance to really feel the price that those young folk paid in order for us to be where we are that we get to feel it. we know it intellectually, but we don't feel it. it's something beautiful your
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book does. >> you see, we started the baker county movement in june of 65, and in august of 65, but -- my sisters and about 15 others decided to integrate the white schools. when they -- i can remember the first day, and i graduated, going often to college in september, and we took them -- we tried to take them to the school, but, of course, the gater was about a block away stopping us. they couldn't start the first day, the next day, they -- well, like what we would do in the movement, things would happen. you call the justice department, cearcht always get justice. the same people -- some of the same people were probably clan members too. >> for real. >> no. >> just saying. >> they were eventually able to
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start school, but there were signs up in the school, another coon dead, there were tacts in their seats. the white teachers would refer to them as negroes, and they just enduredded so much, and the thing that's most -- that was so hateful, so -- that impacted them so much, too, was that, see, they had to ride the same bus that the other black children rode, but then they do over to the white schools, and then they'd have to bring them from the white school to the black school to take the bus home, and they would not allow them, even if it was raining to come into the black school to wait for the bus. these were our own people doing this, and then at the end of the school year, those who were juniors and seniors could not attend the prom at the white schools and were not allowed to
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attend the prom at the black school. now, we had a program about three years ago because that's -- these are older people, some of them 60 years old now, and they still hold that in them. we had a program where we got all -- we got the congressman to give them plaques, the secretary of state. we did a lot of things to try to help them -- to help them to understand we appreciate what happened to them, but even though that school, that black school is now in -- we've actually turned it into a cementer for the community -- and this is the things we've done, not someone else. we raised all chicken plates, did everything we could do to hold on to that building, a separate, but equal facility. there's a commercial kitchen in there now where people can make products to get on the market.
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we have a cooperative in there, head start and other programs. those individuals who were hurt so much as juniors and seniors by our own people still don't feel comfortable with going to that building to do anything. >> wow. >> and this is all of these years later because they remember what happened to them. even though the people who did it are not even living now. they still can't let go. >> wow. you know, this is what i callko2 this emotional justice. the idea of untreated trauma stay with us drama to drama, you carry what happened emotionally and even the celebration of the fact of the landmark case and the schools are now
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desegregated, but the reality of those who walked the journey is not a space that we get a chance to experience. it's really a beautiful thing the way the book fills in the gaps that are routine left left out. that's why i call it "living history" because you can see it, breathe it, so emotional. i cried so much -- sioux -- so many times. to come back, your father was killed, you were 17 when that happened, your mother seven months pregnant, and you say that really taught you how strong your mother was because the family changed so radically, but also, you talked about the fact that at that time somebody dies, there's no councilling, nothing to help the family to deal with a loss so potent. >> right. during these days when there's a tragedy, they bring counselors in. we didn't have that. each of us had to deal with it in our own way, and shortly my
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father was murdered in march, started the movement in june, and two weeks later, white men burned a cross in front of our house. my mother and four sisters were at home -- like i said, we moved into the new home, in fact, one week before my father died. he was with us in the house one week, and then one of my sisters was sitting up, one night, sits outside citying, and saw a line of cars, you know, in the rural area, you see cars coming on the road, you wonder what's going on, but she actually went -- my mother in the bed to say there were a lot of cars coming down the road, and she said, oh, they probably -- named one of the nans, going to his house.
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i don't know why she thought that, but my sister saw the cross berning, and my -- burning, and my mother actually went out on the porch and said the light was so bright she could recognize some of the white men who were out there, but what happened was she told one of my sisters, because she was in the movement, she called a black man, and if they had not stopped some of the younger black men that night, you probably would have read about that incident because he was ready to kill some of them. [applause] they actually allowed them to leave. they -- you know, they had rounded white men and allowed them to leave, and then suddenly the gater shows up with the bureau of investigation people all aware, and nothing happened
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as a result of her identifying some of the people, but my mother, she became, you know, when daddy was living, we felt like there were six girls. he was just one of us, but grew up, and 11 years after my father's death, when my mother announced to us i'm running for office, i couldn't believe it, but i was happy, you know? >> wow. [applause] that year, the gater, also decided he was retiring, but he decided one of the sons would become sheriff. he had a son running for office, and we were running in, and as we campaigned around the county that summer, running into some of them, and then on the night of the election, we were all in
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the courthouse like something from the movie, and you look at that stuff from, you know, out of mississippi and other places that was happening right there in georgia, and we were at the white courthouse that night, and standing -- because they were counting the paper ballots, and we were watching them count, and out the back room, the gater walked past us and spoke, and then he realized he just talked to charles sherrod. he was angry because we had meetings, and my husband kept telling people do not put another johnson in office, and they had gotten that word back to him. that's why he was angry. he walked a few feet away and came back and said i take that back. i didn't know who you were. [laughter] he is standing there with a gun on his side, and my husband is
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standing there, and they are staring each other in the -- i mean, just staring at each other, and i was about to have a heart attack because i knew even with all of those people in the room, the gater was just mean enough to pull his gun out there with everyone there to shoot, but someone ran outside and got his son, the would one who was g for office, and he ran in there and grabbed daddy by the arm saying, come on, daddy, just leave that alone. he pulls his daddy outside. i can tell you that night driving from newton, the city where the ballots were being counted, back to albany, about 20 miles away, was very scary because we had to go up highway 19, and i didn't feel like the gater felt it was over, but the son did win.
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my mother won. [applause] she became the first black elected official in baker county, and believe it or not, she's still serving. >> wow! [applause] we convinced her this year, although everyone -- they were all begging her, please stay in because she -- she has. the voice for people op that board for all people, but especially black people on the board of education in baker coupe. her first meeting, her first meeting back in 1976, the superintendent introduced her -- i want to introduce the newest board members, joe hall's daughter, and there was an old board member who said is that the nigger joe hall? that's an honest man. he found my wallet and brought
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it to me and all the money was still in there. that was her introduction. >> that was the introduction. [laughter] >> you know, but she's a strong woman. we convinced her, though, to just to give it up. you have so many things happening in education. the superintendent begged, begged us too because if we had gone along, her children, with another four years, i'm sure she'd still be there, but we thought it's just time. it's time for her to enjoy life a little more. she's always on the case, always -- weather it's in education or -- whether it's in education or whatever. she's the person people go to in the county for help. >> wow. [applause] mama miller. so with all of this political activity, you still manage to find love in a land of hate.
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let's talk about your man. yeah. [laughter] charles sherrod. you fell in love with a freedom rider. who is he? is he here? >> yes. >> charles sherrod. [laughter] [applause] now, according to the book, you know, a young man interested in a young lady who was not interested in return. what was up? [laughter] >> yeah. you know, he met my family before he met me, and for all of these yearsing in about two years ago, i thought he was not telling the truth. he kept telling me -- he said i thought when i saw your picture, i'm going to marry that girl. my sister said it's true. he -- he met them and then they
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talked about this other sister that they had, and he wanted to see a picture, and they showed him the picture, and he said i'm going to marry her, and within two year, we were married. [laughter] [applause] >> yay! love in the land of hate. [applause] so you get married, and you and your husband are working together, both in the movement, and you're really dealing with the issue of discrimination and establishing the degree to which the discrimination works, and then you are pregnant with your daughter, russia. >> yes. >> and mr. sherrod decide to go to israel trying to figure it out in a different country. you just had your baby girl. >> yes. you know, when i married him, i realized i was having -- i was married rather -- i was marrying a person who was married to the movement, and i admire that in
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him so i had to share him with everyone always. >> wow. it's beautiful the way you write about when you had to resign, and you called charles on the phone, and charles was the one who soothed your spirit as you drove home on that day, july 2010. >> yeah. >> and so you -- we have something in common. you made a trip to the scholarship that you got -- you write about that in the book. going to ghana, going to stand in the space where potentially your ancestors, those who were enslaved africans may have come from, that was like what? >> oh, my goodness. i can remember -- the reason why i had the opportunity to go, i had applied for a kellogg fellowship, and i didn't think i'd get it, but in the final interview, they -- one person asked me, shirley, is there something you've always wanted to do that you've never had a
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chance to do? i said, yes. he said, what? i said i wanted to go to africa. >> he said, where? >> i said ghana, kenya, i just named countries. [laughter] the first thing i did after i was notified i got the fellowship and to start traveling, i went to ghana. i was so excited i couldn't sleep. just the thought of getting to africa, you know, a place where i'm -- my ancestors came from, i couldn't -- it was just more -- i can't describe what i was feeling, and i just couldn't wait to get there and to ask them, you know, what do you think of african-american and i just, oh -- [laughter]ñ$ i asked everybody. >> it's interesting because in all the travels, you see this thread through your book of
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trauma, trouble, challenge, and discourse, and your choice to find a way of resolution every time. even in ghana, you have a dinner where they are like, well, african-americans and you go there and become the united nations and navigate the way through, and you go to the farm and working, and dealing with the determination they are facing, and so you're on the other end of the usda seeing exactly how the discriminatory policies, what they are on the ground, seeing farmers having land foreclosed upon and knowing that there was a mean spiritedness the way they foreclosed on their land. tell us a little bit about that. >> you know, one of the things i had to do, and i was determined, and i was determined that everyone who worked with me did that. we -- i made sure we learned those regulations better than the folks working in those
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offices so you would know when they were doing something or saying something wrong. you could know when you were -- anyone who ever had to deal with discrimination know when that happens, but to know exactly what that person is doing to you that's wrong is what i wanted us to -- and i needed to be able to do that to challenge them. i could remember a farmer called me -- he had been -- he received a letter to come into the local office, which was about 60 miles away. he asked if i would come to go to the office with him, and with his wife, and i said yes. i drove down to the office that morning. we went into the office with the county supervisor, and he started telling the farmer that he was -- he was going to foreclose -- the farmer had a farm ownership loan and a home ownership loan, two different
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lopes. he would foreclose first on the farm and then the house. the farmer's wife started crying in the speech he was making because the guy would never stop. i was trying to give him a chance to finish what he had to say, but itp4 was obvious he was just going to keep talking, talking, talking, and not give us a chance to respond so i stopped him and said will you put it in writing? he said, i ain't putting nothing in writing. he didn't say it that way first. what he did was when i said will you put that in writing, he pushed his chair back from the desk and started looking at his seat. he eventually turned the chair all the way around looking at the floor and then looked at me and said i ain't putting nothing in writing. we went at him. oh, did we ever. remember what i said to him, but i can't. [laughter] you know? so he -- he eventually somehow we stopped, and he told the
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farmer that he would get a letter in about six weeks and so he was outlining the process, and then the farmer had a bad sinus problem so he coughed a lot. oh, mr. smith, do something about the cough, patting him on the back. well, i want you to know that every time that farmer got a letterp stating what action thy would take, we appealed. i went to so many appeals here, sometime i forget, now, what are we here for this time? i stayed on that supervisor's case, submitted so many complaints that he eventually left the agency, and -- [cheers and applause] that land is still with that farmer today. [applause] now -- [applause] on the other hand, i had a white
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farmer. this is -- you have interesting things that happen. the one white woman from baker county where i grew up had a boyfriend who had a farm, and he was experiencing somelñ problem, and so shemented me to come to lunch at her house, a black woman that i knew was her housekeeper and cooked so i took my husband saying you have to come with me, man. [laughter] so woo went to lunch at her home, and then from there the white farmer and his son, we were going from there to the county supervisors office about ten miles away. the county supervisor was expecting the farmer, not me. we walked in together, and so to get rid of me -- he was not sure why i was there, i guess. he knew he had heard about me, many of them had, and so --
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[laughter] so he told the farmer to walk down the hall to another room sm well, we walkedded down the hall to the other room and so he knew then without a doubt i was with them so he sat and started talking to them, but turned in such a way he was turning his back to me, but every time a response was needed, i responded. i didn't let the white farmer respond so finally he realized he had to talk to me too. i dealt with the situation. there were many, many situations. i'm sure -- i heard over in east georgia, one of the county supervisors was saying tell us you better not come over here with that mess in east georgia. well, i went one day. [laughter] [applause] i just went quick.
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>> tell us. >> this young black map, his grandfather was giving up the farm, and he was interested in farming. now, he had just been highlighted in one of usda's publications because he worked and saw conservation helping a white farmer, but do you know when i preparedded his business plan, they denied his loan for lack of experience? [audience reacts] i told him that the process for dealing with that is you have to within the first two weeks of denial request an appeal hearing. he called me. i said request the appeal hearing, and i'll be there, but do not tell her it was a woman. do not tell her i'll be there with you. on the dates he was begin for the hearing, i had to drive 150 miles to get to him, so by the time i was there, i got -- i was good and mad.
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[laughter] i had heard that they said don't come over in that area with that mess i'd been doing over in southwest georgia. the poor woman, i think about it now because i wouldn't sit, and i was on her so she was trembling, but -- [laughter] the young man got his loan. [laughter] [cheers and applause] >> you know he did. [applause] >> i felt bad about the way i treated her, but -- [laughter] >> i think it's important to understand that you come from a space where you had been on the receiving end of the discriminatory practices of the usda so that when you walked into the usda to become the first director of rural development, the first black director of rural development for georgia in the president's administration, you had a unique history. >> yes.
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>> of having personally experienced the discrimination and having helped with black and white farmers navigate something that was racist, and you had all of these stories that moved that again and again and again and again to the point that in the book, when you were -- when you submitted your resignation and all the support came flooding in from all of the farmers about whose stories you have been telling, one of the letters of support wrote about a usda loan official who kept a noose in the desk for when people visited. kept a noose in the desk. you opened the drawer, and you saw the noose, and he'd shut it as he was having a meeting with black farmers. that was the reality you walked into. >> yes. >> and then you get fired by the first african-american president. >> yes. >> we're going to come -- we did all of that to come back to the beginning of july 2010, and the president does call you. >> uh-huh. >> and, girl, when you read this
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in the book, this is what you call i'm going to have a conversation with the president of the united states. [laughter] tell him a few things about the jim crow south. [laughter] talk about that conversation. >> well, you know, he was -- when -- i was actually hear in new york, and i had just been op "the view," and i was in a limo on the way to the airport with cnn when i received a call. it was 404 area code, atlanta, and i answered that. it was congressman john lewis. when we finished talking, i decided to check my text messages because i couldn't keep voice mail clear enough to keep getting messages, and low and behold, there was a message from the white house saying the president was trying to reach me. i called the number, and they wanted to arrange the call so --
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interesting these people in the media, the person who was in the car with me from cnn started going in her purse to pull out a cam corder. i said you cannot tape me while i'm talking to the president. i made her turn it off, and made her put that away. [applause] he started out by saying you're a hard person to reach. well, everyone knew i'd been with cnn all week. i didn't say that to him though. [laughter] anyway, he started out saying, you know, vilsack would be calling me about a position they wanted to offer, and then he said, you know, those issues you've been putting out there all week i'm well aware of them. i said, no, you don't understand those issues the same way i do.
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we went back and forth. i didn't really -- you know, i'm talking to the president, but i didn't -- [laughter] well -- [laughter] [cheers and applause] so he's trying to tell me, yes, i do. if you read the book you'll understand i do. i said, no, you don't understand the issues the same way i do. we were going back and forth like that, and he trying to tell me to read a book, and i would see, and i'm saying no. finally, i said you know what? you should come to southwest georgia and he said oh, stanford has been trying to get me to come. that's the congressman from the second congressional district where i live, and i said, well, you should come, and when you come, bring michelle with you. [laughter] we left it, you know, that visit has not happened, but he also
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told me the young man who arranged the call to get to him, and if i had a message for him or an issue or whatever, i could contact that young man. i didn't keep that number though. i don't do stuff like that. [applause] >> well, i was just thinking since the president kindly offered you his book, i think we should kindly offer him yours. >> yes. [cheers and applause] >> and signed copy; right? [laughter] we're going to take questions before we finish up, and y'all get a chance to get copies and ms. shirley will sign them. i know folks wrote stuff down. we'll have questions that we'll be able to ask you so that you can have a conversation with parts of our audience.
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.. >> it means there is a whole generation getting to understand a portion of the history of the jim crow south to this moment in a way that they could not
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possibly have done. this book should be. >> we are going to take a few questions. to you believe integration dismantles white who premise. and what is done when it comes to racial and economic injustice? >> integration is a mess. when we were integrating the white schools, putting our children there was enough that we don't provide the support
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that was needed to get through the experience. and they did the things. and in baker county it was at a time when people thought they registered to vote. we can eat anywhere and sleep anywhere and children in the white school but we didn't. there is so much more that had to be done. the hurt was so deep, to experience that and to know that is almost like we want to wipe that part of slavery and those years away so that our children
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can just be in this society and move on. so much is happening to them that they don't understand because they don't know the history. [applause] >> we have some questions. what are the main challenges the next generation of small farmers and what the community is planning? >> just wake me, just like back in those years when it comes to agriculture, we think only of picking on cotton or shaking peanuts but there are machines to do that now. it takes almost an educated
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person to run those and they have air-conditioning -- when it -- >> when it comes to agriculture we run away from. the land we have, most is on its non. we didn't realize css our ancestors come out of slavery acquired and left for us. in 1920, and almost fifteen million acres of farmland. today that is around two million and still losing. growing your own food and
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getting in touch with the land, you can learn so much that can take you through life by connecting with the soil. kids can learn math. they can learn to read. there is so much the earth can give to us and in addition good wholesome healthy food to eat. we need to know how to grow it. [applause] >> especially with the challenges for african-american communities with food and desert sand injustice and the challenge of getting fresh food around the corner. another question, how do you consider doing this for a
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living, the aggro corp. is squeezing out -- and land touch. >> let me tell you something we are doing now. all of us being mandated to buy local produce. keeping our farmers from being able to access that market and others like it is you have to have a facility -- to bring those in to be properly graded. in some cases -- one farmer, one small farmer alone, getting farmers to work together in groups, they can.
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and trying to get a process for farmers to be able to access markets. farmers trying to sell the public kroger and other big chains and their markets, all of us need to eat and they have markets right around them and people who are right around them to support small farmers take value from that. >> many questions overlap each other so we are covering a lot of ground. who are the heroes that inspire you and specifically for young regeneration what advice would you give to young regeneration facing discrimination the way you did as a child that helps to grow in their lives and what would you say to encourage them
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to speak out for justice? >> there are so many well-known people who inspire me but some of the people who inspire me -- such an impact on me and the work i have done. those people you don't hear about. those women in communities to give day in and day out not for the recognition they get because they will never be recognized for what they do but they give over and over and they are not afraid. i remember my husband hunt a woman in lee county, georgia. calls the -- muhammad ali was a midlife and her early years but she would set up that night with a shotgun allowing the workers
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to get some sleep. [applause] >> during the first march in baker county. as white men were beating charles sherrod, if you don't stop you are killing. people like that who don't look for the recognition but work anyway. make our communities work. and -- a question about new communities. we created the organization in 1960 and due to discrimination,
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we lost 6,000 acres we had in 1985 and that was discrimination. and the whole administration. we became -- new communities became one of the claimants in the pick third case and ended up getting the largest award and because of that new communities bought more land and we have programs on that land beginning next month. they will be harvesting p. collins -- pico and --pecans. we have oranges.
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grapes like any old communities and lots of training around agriculture. and we also had a racial deal. interesting to sit down with white people in the area. [applause] >> a living history. a love letter to the revolutionary practice of forgiveness. the importance of choices. the reality that history is so much more than information. silence from generation to generation does not help us create a better present. we got to open that up. i stood up for the politics -- "the courage to hope: how i stood up to the politics of fear". shirley sherrod.
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you are serious. [applause] >> every weekend booktv offers 48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. watch it here on c-span2. >> here's a look at some books being published this week. former california governor arnold schwarzenegger recounts his own life from austrian immigrant to governor in his memoir total recall:my unbelievably true life story. in a life on the left historian martin zimmerman presents a biography of howard zinn, political activist and scholar. former republican presidential candidate rick santorum details personal stories of america's founding fathers and their fight
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for freedom in american patriots:answering the call to freedom. in a man who saved the union:ulysses grant in war and peace, the life and career of general grant. and the political rise and career of an richards, in what the people in:the life and times of and richards. in the liberal warren transparency confessions of the freedom of information critical, the obama administration is keeping too much information from the public. john jenkins, legal journalists of see q press details the life of william rehnquist. in the the partisan. professor of temporary islamic studies at oxford university provided detailed accounts of the rise of the arab swing, protests that f


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